Symptoms, success stories men need to hear to get on the road to better health |

Symptoms, success stories men need to hear to get on the road to better health


Signs and symptoms you can’t ignore:

Chest pain

“Chest pain is something to be concerned about, and unfortunately, it’s very common,” says Nicholas Browning, MD, a Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital internal medicine specialist.

The key is to notice whether the pain worsens with exertion and goes away with rest.

Also, pain that radiates into the arms, jaw or elsewhere in the upper body can be a sign of heart disease.

Shortness of breath

If you find yourself losing your breath during activities that wouldn’t normally leave you winded, it could be a sign of heart or lung disease.

Sudden weakness on one

side of the body, difficulty

speaking, loss of coordination

or facial droop

If you notice any of these symptoms, blood flow to a portion of the brain could be blocked. Immediately seek emergency care. Even if symptoms go away after several minutes, you aren’t out of the woods, as this can be a precursor to stroke, and rapid treatment can prevent a full-blown stroke.

Blood in stool

“Even if you notice blood in your stool only once, that might be the only warning you get,” Dr. Browning said.

“Colon cancer is slow growing, and you can do something about it by getting a colonoscopy. If you don’t, it will spread, and you’ll have an incurable cancer rather than one that is cured fairly easily.”

Success story:

A stress-busting approach

Lifelong newsman Jeff Ackerman, 58, is the publisher of The Union in Grass Valley. With daily deadlines a fact of life, he knows all about stress.

“It’s important for people with desk jobs to take care of themselves,” Ackerman said.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that when it comes to his health, Ackerman takes a low-stress approach.

Find a healthy passion: “Running is my stress reliever,” Ackerman said. “It’s also a quiet activity, and you have time to think.”

Get motivated: “My wife had our first baby when I was 36. I wanted to be around and play with my kids when they were in their teens. That meant running in the park and taking care of myself.”

Eat smart: Ackerman watches the amount of red meat he eats and keeps an eye on portions. And when he treats himself to the occasional burger, he won’t overdo it.

“I’ll ask myself, ‘Do I really need fries, too?’ “

Success story:

A commitment to healthy living

It’s been 20 years, but Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital obstetrician Rob Michelin, MD, 69, vividly remembers lying in a hospital bed after his heart attack, thinking two things: He wanted to avoid open-heart surgery and see his future grandchildren.

Since his close shave, a renewed focus on his own health has kept him out of the ER and in the lives of his six grandchildren.

Keep it simple: His new diet was simple: Dairy products and eggs were out. His wife helped by cutting out red meat and preparing “small portions of fish and turkey with no skin.”

Take control: Early on, Dr. Michelin found that he sabotaged his exercise plans.

“If I ever picked up the paper in the morning, I didn’t exercise. Any plans won’t last for long unless you control the little things. I always say just getting out the door helped the most.”

Find support: Not only did Dr. Michelin’s wife prepare heart-healthy foods, but he also got support from his coworkers.

“My colleagues were not only very supportive, they got in shape right along with me.”

If you have experienced any of the symptoms described or are due for your annual screening, contact your primary care physician. For a current list of primary care physicians that are accepting new patients, contact SNMH at (530) 274-6860.

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